Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Clean House

While flipping through some late night television, I came across "Clean House: Search for the Messiest House in the Country 4".  Now, without getting into a rant about how people could let their house get so full of "stuff" (let alone letting it be broadcast to the world), I want to touch on one of their underlying issues.  The dad traveled a lot with his job, and every time he came back, he brought his family gifts to show them that he loved them and thought of them often when he was away.  These gifts were contributing to a huge clutter problem and many gifts had never even been opened.  The family was disconnected, because the wife and children really just wanted to spend time with the dad, who had to keep working more to buy more gifts... do you see the problem?
This whole situation took me back to a book I read many years ago, "The 5 Love Languages" by Dr. Gary Chapman.  According to Chapman, the 5 are: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts & Physical Touch.  I feel very confident in saying that you probably have people around you that respond to a different Love Language than you.  This doesn't just apply to couples and families.  Think of "Love Language" as "Appreciation Language".  This applies to everyone that you have a connection to- employees, friends, volunteers, congregation, even neighbors.
Maybe you are a "service" language, so you occasionally shovel your neighbors walk.  They may be a "time" person and really just want to hang out.  Maybe you're an "affirmation" person working with a volunteer who is a "gifts" person.  Rather than just congratulating them for their contribution, a card & small token will go miles.
When you work with a large group of people, you have to look beyond what your language is and look to what each individual's language is.  Yes, it takes time.  It even takes a personal relationship.  But better to connect with someone in their language, than waste time and money by rewarding someone with "clutter".

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